March 2022 - 1

Pennsylvania salutes
vegetable industry
Tools, techniques for
pest control examined
in the Southeast
Push is on to move ag
labor measures before
March 2022 | Volume 56 |
Issue 3
Nelson Wells is a co-founder of Lifetime Natural Organic Farm LLC. At upper right, farmhands James and Carl plant vegetables. Photos: LifeTime Natural Oganic Farm
Organics blossom in Dixie
Alabama vegetable farm is helping introduce organics to state
By Doug Ohlemeier
VGN Correspondent
Deep in the Heart of Dixie, a
Southern California transplant is
bringing organic produce and natural
production practices to a part of the
U.S. that is not known to be an organic
Lifetime Natural Organic Farm
LLC is adding acreage and building
a produce packaging facility that
will bring more organic produce to
Alabama and the South. The company
is considered one of Alabama's largest
organic growing operations.
Inspired by the agricultural legacy
of George Washington Carver, Nelson
Wells, one of the company's founders, is
a surfer and former West Coast athlete
who fell in love with the South and sees
potential for organic produce in the
region. He wants to change the world of
" We want to be one of the best
providers of beautiful organic
produce in the country, " stated Wells.
Meeting demands
Located in Tuskegee, Alabama,
between Montgomery, Alabama, and
Columbus, Georgia, Lifetime initially
grew a large variety of vegetables. The
lineup included leafy greens, different
types of kale, green bell peppers,
" lunchbox " mini-sweet peppers, cabbage,
broccoli, cauliflower and herbs. To better
meet its customers' needs, the company
modified its portfolio by growing specific
varieties in much larger quantities. Those
are butternut squash, yellow squash,
zucchini, kohlrabi, edamame, onions,
sugar snap peas and Brussels sprouts.
In 2019, the operation began with
30 acres owned by the Macon County
Economic Development Authority. A
handful of years later, it is purchasing
See ORGANICS, page 6
Electric vehicles make debut in ag
By Stephen Kloosterman
Associate Editor
No longer an idea only, electric
tractors are making a quiet start
in vegetable farms, vineyards and
Innovation and out-of-the-box
thinking seek to outfit farmers and
especially specialty crop growers
interested in automation and
alternative energy solutions.
One example is the Monarch
tractor, a 75-hp electric smart
tractor manufactured in Livermore,
California. Twenty of the tractors
have been built, and some are at work
on farms such as the Napa Valley's
Wente Vineyards. A two-wheel-drive
version is offered for $58,000 - a fourwheel-drive
version sells for about
$68,000 - and they're meant to replace
conventional tractors that can be
purchased for about $90,000.
The tractor is built with OEM parts
that are accessible, and the battery can
easily be swapped out. Monarch sells
a cart for moving a spare battery. A
charge is good for an average of
10 hours run time and provides about
80 amps of peak energy for 4-5 hours.
Speed is governed below 25 mph.
The tractor features an autonomous
drive mode as well as a " row following "
mode and a " copycat " mode that
reproduces a section of recorded
driving, said
Carlo Mondavi,
chief farming
officer and
co-founder at
Monarch Tractor.
" I think 100%
High-Tech Tools
of tractors under
125 hp will be EVs (electric vehicles)
by 2030, which is eight years from
now, " he said. Mondavi is a grower of
winegrapes and a winemaker, whose
great-grandfather Cesaré Mondavi
See ELECTRIC, page 7

March 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2022

March 2022 - 1
March 2022 - 2
March 2022 - 3
March 2022 - 4
March 2022 - 5
March 2022 - 6
March 2022 - 7
March 2022 - 8
March 2022 - 9
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